Caesar Salad is delicious all year round but is particularly enjoyed as a meal during the hot Summer months. I’ve ordered this a couple of times while out in Italy, and it’s usually a little disappointing. My favourite go to recipe for Caesar Salad is my mother’s recipe and the one I grew up with. While grilled chicken wasn’t included in original recipes it is often on the menu as an option, an extra ingredient to add to your Caesar Salad. I like the addition of grilled chicken because it transforms this salad into a substantial meal. This recipe is for 4 generous servings.
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 egg yolks (raw)
- 2 whole boiled eggs
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar
- freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
- 2 heads of Cos lettuce
- 1/2 cup chopped bacon or pancetta (pan fried)
- 1 1/2 cups freshly made croutons (see method)
- 100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Black Pepper
- 4 chicken breasts
- In a food processor, blend together the garlic, anchovy fillets, capers, egg yolks, hard boiled eggs, Dijon mustard, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper.
- Add Olive Oil, vinegar and lemon juice, and continue blending until smooth. Taste and adjust lemon or pepper if required. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble salad.
- Cook bacon or pancetta in a frying pan until golden and crispy. Allow to drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Chop roughly.
- Add some rustic Italian style bread cut into cubes into the frying pan with any remaining bacon fat and add a splash of olive oil if necessary. Fry bread until toasted and golden. If you prefer the crunch without the fat, you can toast the bread in th oven.
- Cut both chicken breasts through the middle, without cutting through, to form one large flat piece. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper and brush with olive oil. Heat a frying pan until hot then place the chicken breasts on it and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Slice for serving.
- Assemble the Caesar Salad. Firstly remove the outer leaves from the cos lettuce. Using your hands, roughly tear the lettuce leaves and place in a large bowl. (Some people like to leave the leaves whole). Toss lettuce leaves with a couple tablespoons of the dressing, half the crispy fried pancetta and half the croutons.
- Equally divide the lettuce on four plates. Add grilled chicken breast slices. Add the remaining crispy pancetta and croutons on top of chicken. Using a serving spoon drizzle extra dressing over, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with a little freshly cracked black pepper.
- If you wish to make a crispy cheese basket like I did to serve your Caesar Salad in, just place grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (I used a mixture of both) in a frying pan over medium high heat. Watch carefully as it melts and starts to bubble and turn golden. Turn off heat and set aside frying pan. Wait just a couple of minutes and slide cheese into a bowl. As it cools it will harden and maintain its shape.
** (A poached egg on top wouldn’t be out of place for a decadent brunch)!